Friday, February 15, 2008

This week's Sabbath School lesson: spiritual growth

"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" -- Matthew 5:48, NIV.
Up till now, the quarterly has been talking about the call to discipleship; now it moves on to the process of being a disciple. If the decision to follow Jesus is like a wedding, in other words, we're now talking about the marriage itself.

Unfortunately, this week's lesson doesn't offer much in the way of definitely guidance -- a few references to the Sermon on the Mount, a quick glance at the appointment of the apostles, a brief mention of Christ's commission to the Seventy . . . in short, nothing much on which to build a lesson plan for your class.

So . . . you have a choice:
  • You can review the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).
  • You can review the appointment of the apostles (Mark 3:1-12).
  • You can review Christ's commission of the Seventy (Luke 10:1-23).
And in each case, you can try to determine what are the timeless principles in these verses that are meant for all disciples everywhere, and what are contingent principles meant for that specific time and place alone.

Then again, you might want to take a look at the life of one, specific disciple -- a disciple like Peter. First, review his call to be a disciple. Then discuss all the ways in which he grew and changed as a disciples:
  • his walking on the water (and subsequent failure)
  • his recognition of Jesus as the Christ (and subsequent failure).
  • his attempt to defend Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (and subsequent failure).
  • his ministry to the Gentiles (and subsequent failure) . . .
Well, you get the idea. And as you study Peter's life, you may want to discuss with your class the question: At what point in his life would you say that Peter was "converted"? What does this say about conversion -- and what does this say about the process of discipleship?

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